If you're an indie author who abhors social media, like me, there are ways you can boost your online presence without making your stomach churn. How can you use social media to your advantage even if you hate being on social media?
Let's be honest, social media takes up a lot of time. A lot of time you could be spending writing. Or going on adventures, y'know, for fodder to write about.
But in this overly-connected world, if you don't have a social media presence, you're basically dead in the water. No one will hear of you. You'll have no huge base of raving fans.
You either have to learn to love social media, or poke at it from a distance with a stick.
I like the former option, which keeps my time free for writing, and the agonizing time spent on social media low.
Here are a few of my most effective tips for managing a social media presence without having to put in much work.
Choosing the lesser of the evils
or, how to find the right platform for you
If there's a platform that seems less vile than the others, by all means, use that platform as your sole social media. You don't need a twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest, and goodreads account. You can cut the fat and just do one of them really well. This way, you'll be spending less time, stress, and frustration spread across multiple platforms, and you can more easily learn how to be effective at your one social media outlet.
I learned that twitter, which is the worst of the worst in my mind, wasn't doing anything for my business. I would gain new followers, have some favorites and retweets each week, but none of that engagement was making any difference in my website views, or buys for my book.
Because twitter is the lowest converting social media platform (with a conversion rate of 0.5%) unless you LOVE twitter, or are a master at the 140 character sales pitch with a HUGE following, it's going to be the least effective way to spend your time on social media.
If you read a lot of books and like talking about it, goodreads is a platform that lets you engage with other readers and authors and promote your book in a non-salsey kind of way. You can host giveaways which gain you exposure, and you can enter review groups or find beta readers to help grow your amazon reviews. This isn't an incredible way to convert to sales, but it's awesome for boosting your online presence and gaining traction with amazon reviews.
You can also use goodreads to find authors who you can partner with in a webinar or email giveaway swap, so that you can expand both of your audience's together. More of a community than a sales tool, goodreads is perfect for you if you actually want to go deeper than other surface social media platforms, like twitter.
It's hard to make instagram work for authors, but if you're on it, and you enjoy taking photos, you can use it as your social media outlet instead of the rest. Posting inspirational photos that remind you of a scene or setting in your book can generate interest in your novels -- especially if you're a good photo taker. You can caption an image with a compelling quote from your book. You can arrange your books with a cup of coffee and some items from around your house that are within the aesthetic of your novel, and drive people to the sales link. Or you can promote a giveaway through an image (remember, it doesn't always have to be a photograph - you can make a jpeg advertisement and upload that as well).
Instagram is actually a more versatile platform than you might thing for selling books, and there are lots of reader feeds and author feeds for you to follow to get more inspiration.
Here are some of my favorite bookish instagram users:
This is the platform that I find has the highest conversion rates. Pinterest is an incredible visual marketing tool. I drive 80%+ of my web traffic from Pinterest. You have to have minimal design skills to use Pinterest so that you can create pins to link to your website, but this is easily done on Canva if you don't know a more designy program, like Photoshop.
If you want the secret weapon for how to make Pinterest grow your fan base and lead to sales, I highly recommend Melyssa Griffin's course Pinfinite Growth. It will show you how to reach and attract your ideal audience, maintain motivation (cause even if you enjoy this particular bout of social media, putting it to work for you can be hard!), and how to raise your monthly page views.
Pinterest lets you target people who actually want to see your work -- giving you a higher chance of converting viewers in to sales.
Since I'm a visual person, I love spending time searching for new books and ways to help indie authors succeed. So Pinterest is a fun way to do that and build up my statistics so that I'm a formidable Pinterest presence!
I have to admit, even though I despise being on facebook, I'm finding that it's a useful author platform to move from stage 1 indie author (who's just struggling to get the first book out) to a stage 2 indie author, who is focusing on cultivating a fan base.
Facebook allows you to connect with your readers. You can use facebook to host AMA's (ask me anything) where readers or authors can come to you and engage with you for an hour or so as you answer book or writing related questions.
You can host other kinds of events, like giveaways that stir up a comment and liking frenzy, or connect with another author to host a joint venture.
Facebook also offers ads that can be targeted to a particular readership, which leads to conversions. I'm just starting out with facebook, so I'm no master of it, but if you're interested in using this platform as your social media outlet, check out Nick Stephenson's free training for authors:
You'll learn a lot more than just how to use facebook, but, to be honest, this man has it down pat.
If there are other social media platforms you'd like discussed, or want to add a comment, chime in! I'd love to hear from you!
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